Before we get into this Pinnacle Studio 23 review fully I should probably mention why this is only the third time I have included Pinnacle Studio on my site as recommended software.
After all it is one of the oldest digital video editing packages that is still available today.
So let’s address the elephant in the room right off the bat.
It is highly likely that you will or may have come across some “less than enthusiastic” reviews or commentary about this software program!
Pinnacle Studio was one of the first commercially available video editors aimed at the average home user way back at the dawn of the digital video age.
It has had a chequered history since that time for a number of reasons.
If you want to read the full story, I did a blog post on it a while back which covers all the whys and wherefores of the product’s history and you can see that here.
The ONLY reason I have a Pinnacle Studio review on this site is because Corel, since taking it over back in 2012, have done a mighty job in getting it on track, running smoothly and moving it into forward development.
I could have safely added a Pinnacle Studio review at around version 18 or 19 but left it until version 20 to make absolutely sure Corel were serious about it.
So here we are at Pinnacle Studio 23 and with this newest update it is safe to say that the backlog of stabilization and modernization tasks are complete and we have moved into straight out development mode.
This latest update is further evidence that Pinnacle’s has stopped playing catch up and has returned to the head of the pack again.
I feel very confident in recommending it to anyone looking for video editing software at the more sophisticated end of the consumer or prosumer video editing market.
Why Pinnacle Studio?
If you hadn’t already gathered, the basic purpose of every review on this site is to only include software I have tested myself and found to be acceptable.
This is all in an effort to try to at least simplify the decision making process in choosing a video editor.
The difficulty in this field is that there are about 6 or 7 main contenders, all of them good at what they do and the differences between them are minute.
This apparent “sameness” makes choosing the right one for you very difficult because it is so hard to tell them apart.
So before I get into the Pinnacle Studio 23 review proper let’s just cover what makes it different to the rest of the pack.
The answer to that question could be summed up in one word, control.
Pinnacle Studio does not particularly pack any different or extra features than you wouldn’t find in any of its main competition so let’s be clear on that.
What it does offer are those features designed and presented in a way that allows the user to exert a level of control almost at the standard of fully professional software.
In fact Pinnacle Studio 23 is as close as you can get to a professional video editor while still staying within a “what you see is what you get” style interface without the complication and hefty price tag.
So as is my habit let’s first take a look at the obligatory slick marketing promo video to get a bit of a feel for what the program can do and how it looks.
What’s New and Improved?
Lower on the page and on page two of this Pinnacle Studio 23 review I will go over the individual features of the program but first let’s take a look at what’s new in this latest version.
Remember these are the new features or improvements that are in addition to the already vast range of features the software already offers.
This is not a new feature but is the biggest talking point you will hit if you look at the reputation of Pinnacle anywhere else online stemming from its past.
Early versions of Pinnacle always had a pretty bad reputation for being, shall we say quirky?
Translated into straight talk that means it was buggy and had a tendency to freeze and crash generally at the point where you really didn’t want it to do that! (Not that there is ever a point where you want it to!)
Through versions 18 and 19 Corel concentrated the majority of their efforts into getting the software right as it stood rather than trying to madly add new features.
Although it took a few versions to get it done, they have turned the program around and have gotten it working as a stable platform upon which they could embark on future development.
The days of glibly stating that “Pinnacle Studio is buggy” are well and truly over.
Pinnacle Studio 23 (The basic version.)
In the previous version of Pinnacle the ability to add LUTs to the color correction and grading module was added.
In Pinnacle 23 they have added a bunch of preset LUTs (profiles) to the software on top of the existing ones and the ability to import your own.
The software also allows you to further adjust LUTs after they have been added to a project.
Enhanced Keyframe Control
Pinnacle has featured the ability to use keyframes for a long time now but in this version those capabilities have been greatly extended.
You can now use keyframes in a much wider range of scenarios such as within preset transitions or included effects.
Beyond that you can also use keyframes to achieve smooth speed ramping or Time Re-mapping to not just speed up or slow down an entire clip.
Sections within the video can also be made to smoothly play faster or slower within the overall clip.
Split Screen Video Templates
New video templates have been added to the Split Screen module which offers you some more starting points for putting together a split screen sequence.
Additionally you can now use an overlaid grid pattern to align your clips accurately and also use keyframes to further adjust how clips behave in the sequence.
For users working with computers that have Intel® Quick Sync video hardware acceleration available Pinnacle Studio 23 is able to take full advantage of this new acceleration technology.
Pinnacle Studio 23 Plus
All of the above plus:
You can now group clips or assets together on the timeline with the new nesting feature to reduce clutter and make it simple to navigate sections of your project.
Nesting is not just a feature but also a technique used by pro editors to work far more efficiently.
For example let’s say you have three assets on the timeline and you have applied effects or some kind of changes to each of those assets.
You then decide you want another effect to be applied to all three assets as a group.
Without nesting you would need to render the sequence to a new file, delete the three existing assets, add in the newly rendered file and then apply the effect.
With nesting all you have to do is select the files you want to deal with and choose to have them “nested” and then you can apply effects or changes to them as a group.
Confused?… yeah me too after I read that back to myself! ? Check out the video.
Create Animated GIFs
Any video sequence can now be rendered as a GIF and as you would expect with Pinnacle Studio there is a vast range of settings you can apply.
This ability to fully control the GIF output is vital given that GIFs are mostly distributed to a wide range of services each having thier own requirements and restrictions.
Pinnacle Studio 23 Ultimate
Again, all the above plus:
Video Mask Creator
Masking is nothing really new to video editors at this level however when we refer to masking or using mask we are generally referring to still image masks.
In Pinnacle Studio 23 they have added Video Masking which is a highly complex and very advanced features generally only found in fully pro software.
To get a clear idea of what this really is and the difference between still image and video masking check this video.
OK so this stuff is getting a little insane!
On top of the added features in the Color Correction/Color Grading module they have added one more thing.
Let’s imagine you have two clips on the timeline.
You have color corrected them and have even applied a LUT to both of them so that they match perfectly and look as though they belong together.
However because they came from different cameras or were shot in different types of light there is still a slight mismatch of the footage.
With the Vectorscope you can now move between the two on the timeline and see exactly what those little differences are and get them to match up perfectly.
Other new features include:
- Copy/Paste Color Attributes
- Export Alpha Channel
- 360 Freeze Frame
- NewBlue Audio Essentials
So that’s about it for all the new stuff and a catch up on how we got here with Pinnacle Studio 23!
Use the links below to either read the rest of this review or go to the Pinnacle website to take a look at the software for yourself.